Monday, September 30, 2013

District 13: Ultimatum (2009)

District 13: UltimatumThe first District 13 was so much better. The dubbing was amazing and the action was hardcore. The movie just flew right through and before you knew it, the film as over.

This one had real bad dubbing and just wasn't as exciting as the first. I enjoyed it but not enough to rush out and buy it.The action was still good but the feel of the movie was just not there this time.

I know some people think that French movies are-well, boring and unremarkable.

But THIS is a movie about fighting, kicking ass, and beautiful women fighting and kicking ass.

Eat that.

Buy District 13: Ultimatum (2009) Now

For those of us who unfortunately have not seen the original BANLIEUE 13 aka DISTRICT 13 (made in 2004 with the same crew except for the director Pierre Morel), some of the background information that usually follows in a sequel is missing and according to many, the sequel here BANLIEUE 13:ULTIMATUM aka DISTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM is not as strong a film. And perhaps that allows the viewer to appreciate fine French film making without the comparison!

Luc Besson (of the Trasnporter series et al) wrote this script (or rather, this plan of choreography, as there is not a lot of spoken dialogue in this fast-paced thriller) and Patrick Allessandrin directs a story of a region of Paris (District 13) that is cordoned off the rest of Paris by a group of five warlords who manage to control the drug ridden violent region. Basically the tale is that of two men Captain Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli) and undercover cop of the 'good' police and Leïto (David Belle), an ex-thug who in the previous film infiltrated a gang in order to defuse a neutron bomb. That was supposedly in 2010. The film opens some years later when District 13 is now in control of power over the government and the 'bad police' are attempting to destroy the area and rebuild according to their greedy plans. The action is the story and the action is immensely exciting! David Belle invented a discipline known as Parkour, which consists of moving quickly and efficiently in any environment, using only the abilities of the human body, and though his acting credits are minimal, he is stupefying in his live action role. Belle and Raffaelli are the reasons to watch this thriller as their screen chemistry is magnetic. Other standout performances in the film include the much tattooed Elodie Yung as Tao (the principal gang queen), Philippe Torreton as the much oppressed President, and the evil appearing Daniel Duval as the nemesis who turns the keys of the plot.

The cinematography is superb, the musical score is French rap music that while it suits the mood of the film becomes irritating in its repetitiveness. In all this is an escape film that is high on excitement is not very high on intelligent dialogue. But put Bell and Raffaelli together and the combustion is authentically credible. Grady Harp, March 10

Read Best Reviews of District 13: Ultimatum (2009) Here

In watching DISTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM, you're subjected to the tired political subtext and also the sometimes ridiculous plot. Writer/producer Luc Besson, historically, hasn't sold heaps of movie tickets by virtue of his having been the voice of social conscience, and his attempts here are awkward. Doesn't matter, though. The first movie rocked it. This sequel rocks it equally. The two stars, David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli, are back for another bone-bruising round of no-wires, no-CG stunts and fight scenes. "C'est magnifique!" and also "Le chat est sur le tableau." And that's my French.

Three years after what went down in the first film, and the government has changed hands, and yet things remain the same. That barbed wall still stands tall and menacing, still isolates the lawless territory known as District 13 from the more civilized parts of Paris. In the dystopian near future of 2016, an uneasy sort of peace exists between law enforcement and the ruling gangs of District 13. But now corrupt cops are intent on stirring things up, on enticing riots, the end game being the razing of these bleak tenements and thus raking in the resulting rewards of suddenly available real estate.

When Leito (Belle), District 13's well-meaning rogue, ends up with evidence incriminating the police, it's only a matter of time before he joins forces again with his old friend Damien Tomasso, the formidable and baldy-domed Army Captain assigned to the police Special Forces. On his end, Damien (Raffaelli) has found himself framed and locked up by his fellow police officers. This tends to happen when you're an honest cop. Leito springs Damien, and away they go, striving to save the barricaded slums and their unsavory populace from extinction.

It's gratifying that Belle and Raffaelli obviously get along and share this sort of macho chemistry, and I really enjoy their interactions. But, really, the story is a vessel for their astounding physicality and athleticism. David Belle demonstrates his skills at parkour, and parkour, by the way, is the art of navigating from point A to point B as expeditiously as possible. And Belle's chase scenes are physically taxing and make for absolutely jaw-dropping stuff. Cyril Raffaelli, who looks like Vin Diesel chopped off at the knees, is himself versed in parkour but he's also a practitioner of Shotokan karate and several wushu styles, and he handles the brunt of the martial arts and he's dynamic. What he does here, in beating down waves of goons, hearkens back to when Jackie Chan was really tearing $#!% up in his heyday. Like Jackie, Cyril incorporates whatever props are handy into his explosive fight scenes. In one sequence, he even fends off a group of thugs with a priceless Van Gogh painting.

As mentioned, plenty of the plotlines go the preposterous route. And maybe the silliest, most "What the f---?!" moment is when Cyril Raffaelli, during an undercover ops, disguises himself as a lithe girl dancer, never mind that there's an obvious discrepancy in body types. And, speaking of body types, supporting actress Elodie Yung has got a slender bod and she is memorable as "Tao," head of the Chinese gang and sporting a murderous ponytail. Tao kicks serious behind (but only in two scenes, dammit one in the actual film and a brief segment in the deleted scenes bonus feature).

DISTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM, like its predecessor, exhibits great energy and a pounding, hip-hop laced soundtrack. It presents a grungy, gritty atmosphere reminiscent of films like ROAD WARRIOR and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, and there's particular attention paid to depicting that mean urban sprawl. The battered-down edifices (some of which are skyscrapers) provide Belle the ideal venue to show off his crazy leaping, hurdling, scaling abilities. No trickeration, Belle really does his own stunts. As does Cyril Raffaelli. And so does that one poor guy whom Raffaelli drags thru the air one floor down and then slams viciously thru a table. I'll go ahead and speak for that poor guy and say that the pain was worth it. The action sequences are that dizzying and breathtaking.

The DVD's bonus material includes the Making Of featurette (00:26:33 minutes long, with English sub-titles); a production video diary which chronicles the many days of on-location filming (00:34:31); Alonzo's music video "Déterminé"; Deleted/Extended Scenes include: an extended jailbreak sequence as Leito searches for evidence while Damien holds off the police; even more fight scenes as Leito, Damien, and the gang lords storm the Secret Services stronghold (00:09:22, with English sub-titles); and HDNET: A Look at DISCTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM (00:04:43).

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omg this movie is bad ass!! you almost forget its entirely in french its, Le Bad Asss!!! you need to watch this yes you =D

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